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And for Dessert: Chai Spice Galette with a 2002 Lillypilly Noble Blend

February 24, 2010

If I’d known how incredibly wonderful, how complex, how fascinating this Lillypilly 2002 Noble Blend was going to be, I wouldn’t have opened it tonight for Wine Blogging Wednesday #66, hosted by Jennifer Hamilton, The Domestic Goddess who asked us to think about dessert FIRST in her blog post,  Your Tenderest Twosome.

I should have suspected it would be outstanding. After all, I bought it at a Grateful Palate Imports Warehouse Sale on the advice of Dan Phillips. I don’t remember how much he charged me for the  Lillypilly 2002 Noble Blend he recommended.  I do remember thinking it was a little more than I wanted to spend for a 375 ml bottle of a wine I knew nothing about except his recommendation (and at that time, I knew nothing about what his recommendation meant!) My guess is I paid around $15 because if it had been more than $20, I would have said no, and if it was less than $10 I wouldn’t have batted an eye.

But before I discuss the wine, let me address the prompt. Jennifer argues that while most meals end with a dessert and coffee or a dessert wine, the pairing often comes as an after thought, without as much care as the rest of the meal.

Obviously we’ll have to have her over for dinner at our house! We like dessert, we like ports, we like late harvest wines, and recently, I’ve discovered fine sherries and madeiras. Not only are we fond of dessert, but I love to bake and create simple, easy yet memorable desserts.

THE DESSERT and HOW TO MAKE A GALETTE

Although I wasn’t sure what the wine would be like, when I went to figure out my menu, I hoped it might be similar to Bonny Doon’s 2008 Vinferno, a blend of grenache blanc and rousanne, which I adore–and not just because of the name!

I suspected it would be interesting with a warm spicy apple pie so I picked up some Granny Smith apples at the Farmers Market and a crust at Trader Joe’s. I sliced a few apples thin, sprinkled them with 1/3 cup brown sugar and ground spices: pumpkin pie spice, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom (the extra cardamom takes it over the top; you might want more sugar). Instead of putting the crust into a pie pan, I placed it on a cookie sheet,  mounded the apples and a few blueberries in the center, then folded in the crust toward the center to make a galette. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until apples are tender. Cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

THE DINNER

For dinner, earlier in the day I stopped by the mushroom farm for oyster and brown (baby portabella) mushrooms which I prepared in a quiche along with brocoli and cheese. We also had homemade mushroom/potato/leek soup and a salad of field greens. I served it with a nice rich, aromatic, full bodied Eberle 2006 Viognier even though I really wanted to break open my last bottle of their 2004 Rousanne (wow, that one hit the spot!)

Finally, it was time for the dessert of apple blueberry chai spice galette and the Lillypilly 2002.

THE WINE:

1) It’s a gorgeous clear golden yellow hue–the perfect color for dipping Easter eggs.

2) It’s very aromatic, lots of crazy orange citrus fruits like tangerine plus a hint of tropical fruits.

3) In the mouth, more citrus. Pineapple. Sweet good times. The citrus is mostly tangerine and mandarin with maybe a little grapefruit, the fruit with a hint of sharp rind on the edge. Pineapple–the sweetest honeyed pineapple but if you eat too much–the acid will get you, but really well balanced overall between acid and fruit. Something else odd, not unpleasant, but hard to describe–is that the botrytis? I need to learn more about that!

Easy twist on and off closure.

WOW! It’s only 11.5% alcohol. Not that it tastes “hot” or anything but the flavor is so dense, intense, interesting and well, this is a wine from AUS so I guess I made certain assumptions…

Variety : 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon,
5% Muscat of Alexandria, 5% Riesling.

Last but not least: when I looked it up on the website, I saw it won A LOT of awards including these 5 which look important to me!

SHOW AWARDS :
TROPHY —
International Sweet Wine of the Year: 2008 International Sweet Wine Challenge, Riverina Wine Show
TROPHY —
International Sweet Wine of the Year: 2007 International Sweet Wine Challenge, Riverina Wine Show
TROPHY
Sweet Wine of the Year – Winestate – 2006
TROPHY — Best Dessert Wine, Sydney International Wine Competition 2006
TROPHY — Best 2003 & Older White Wine, 2005 Southern NSW Wine Show

I am not surprised.

Now what to do? Devour it? Or save it and savor it?

If you’re in AUS, you can get the wine from the winery for $38.50 plus shipping and handling. The 2006 is $22.50. I’m not sure what the exchange rate is, but last I knew it was not favorable toward the American dollar making this one mighty expensive one.

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